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Home Policy Articles: Regional & Sectoral: Oil & Gas


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A Time for Vision: A Sustainable & Equitable Economy

The Alberta government’s 2005 budget will be the first since the provincial debt was eliminated. According to the Parkland Institute’s Committee on Alberta’s Finances, this budget should lay the foundations for a vision to build a socially sustainable and equitable economy. 2005...

Back to Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water: Energy, Trade and the Demise of Petrochemicals in Alberta

This paper by Terisa Turner and Diana Gibson deals with Canada's loss of control over her energy resources since the signing of NAFTA. The study focuses on the Celanese petrochemical plant in Alberta which was forced to shut down production in search of a less expensive production location. The authors find connections between the closure, the unstable price of natural gas, the inaction of the Alberta government and energy provisions in NAFTA. Turner and Gibson also discuss possible solutions to the problems that they believe NAFTA has created in the energy sector.

Back to Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water: Energy, Trade, and the Demise of Petrochemicals in Alberta

According to Terisa Turner and Diana Gibson, Canadians question why Canada traded its energy sovereignty with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Canada and the U.S.: A Seamless Energy Border?

In this report Bradley and Watkins explore the closely integrated energy economies of Canada and the United States. They point out that energy trade has grown significantly and become more market-based – stimulated by deregulation and underwritten by NAFTA. The authors argue this relationship has generated substantial benefits for Canada, and that growth has taken place with little friction; this said, they suggest that this benign situation is likely to change.

Economic Transformation North of 60°

Roxanne Ali’s report follows from a Public Policy Forum conference in December 2006 on the promises and policy challenges of northern development.

Electricity Restructuring: Securing Clean Power

Securing Clean Power is part of the Conference Board of Canada’s Electricity Restructuring series. In this paper, Down ask whether liberalized electricity markets inevitably lead to poorer environmental performance. To answer this question, they examine the impact of electricity restructuring on the environment, as well as the implications of restructuring for environmental policy in the United States, Great Britain and Canada.

Ethanol: The Promise and the Peril

Robert Sopuck’s report Ethanol: The Promise and the Peril argues that the Government of Manitoba should not subsidize the Province’s ethanol production industry. Sopuck begins by explaining how wheat is fermented to produce ethanol, which is then used to make ethanol-blended gasoline. There is controversy, he claims, over the economic and environmental effects of this production.

Expectations of Performance-based Regulation in the Natural Gas Industry

In this brief discussion paper Patrick Hoey examines the expectations of the parties involved in reaching a performance-based regulation agreement. He looks at recent experiences in Ontario with performance-based regulation and what customer groups, other stakeholders, utilities, and regulators expect from the process and the agreement. This paper is a contribution to the public debate surrounding natural gas regulation, as undertaken by the Ontario Energy Board and the National Energy Board.

Fiscal Surplus, Democratic Deficit: Budgeting and Government Finance in Alberta

This paper, authored by the Parkland Institute's Committee on Alberta's Finances, explores the Alberta government’s formal budgeting process.

Fuelling Fortress America: A Report on the Athabasca Tar Sands and U.S. Demands for Canada’s Energy

The Athabasca tar sands in Alberta hold the largest hydrocarbon deposit ever discovered, containing an estimated 175 to 200 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Using newer technology, this number might increase to as much as 2.5 trillion barrels of oil.

Having Our Gas and Selling it Too: Natural Gas Distribution in Atlantic Canada

In Having Our Gas and Selling it Too: Natural Gas Distribution in Atlantic Canada, Tom Tucker, of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, argues for a flexible regulatory framework in Atlantic Canada’s fledgling natural gas industry. According to Tucker, natural gas presents the single largest economic opportunity for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, but only if governments ensure the proper regulatory environment. Since the industry is in its infancy, Tucker argues, copying the framework of other regions with mature natural gas industries will not be effective. Instead, governments in Atlantic Canada must develop applicable conditions for the growth of natural gas in the region.

Holes in the Road to Consensus: The Infrastructure Deficit – How Much and Why?

In this e-brief, Mintz and Roberts address the issue of the infrastructure deficit. They note that, according to some estimates, this deficit has reached $57 billion – although the authors say this figure is questionable. Mintz and Roberts point out that, if an infrastructure deficit does indeed exist, then it begs the question as to why municipalities do so little about it, especially when their per capita real revenues are growing.

Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness in Natural Gas Regulation

Marie Rounding argues that natural gas regulation can have a significant impact on the efficiency and competitiveness of the industry, and can also affect customers and other stakeholders. In this paper, she focuses on the efficiency of regulatory processes, regulatory objectives, best practices, and performance indicators. She also examines best practice principles of utility regulation in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Is Further Deregulation of the Natural Gas Industry Beneficial?

In this brief discussion paper Patrick Hoey examines the idea of whether or not a competitive market exists in the natural gas industry and, accordingly, what opportunities might exist for further deregulation of the distribution and storage portions of the industry. Hoey argues that the industry faces challenges from a number of competitive alternatives that include other energy sources, changes to franchise rules, and the practice of allowing end-use customers to build their own pipelines to service small communities (thereby bypassing distribution altogether).

Natural Gas Infrastructure Investments and Capital Renewal

In this discussion paper, Roland George attempts to answer the questions around what can be done to ensure adequate infrastructure investment and capital renewal in the natural gas industry, and what the role of the regulated natural gas distributor is in underwriting access to gas supply.

Scotian Gas: Breaking the Free Trade Consensus

During National Energy Board (NEB) hearings on the development of Nova Scotian offshore gas, the Province of New Brunswick requested all future NEB gas export orders be subject to public review. As Fred Wilson and Steven Shrybman describe in Scotian Gas: Breaking the Free Trade Consensus, this request was met with widespread disapproval from “North America’s oil and gas oligopoly.” At issue, the authors claim, was New Brunswick’s concern that Canadian companies have fair opportunity to purchase natural gas before it is exported to the US.

Securing our Energy Future? A Review of Nova Scotia's Energy Sector in 2004

In this report Larry Hughes reviews the major events in Nova Scotia’s energy sector in 2004.

Selling the Family Silver: Oil and Gas Royalties, Corporate Profits, and the Disregarded Public

Canada is rather unique in that it is a relatively wealthy country in a close dependent relationship with the United States, who consumes the majority of Canada’s production, and whose oil companies dominate Canada’s industry.

Selling the Family Silver: Oil and Gas Royalties, Corporate Profits, and the Disregarded Public

In this paper John W. Warnock explores the development of oil and gas sector, both in Canada and globally, and the geopolitics of oil. Specifically, the author discusses the environmental costs and the fiscal and royalty structures for economic rents to the public that owns the resource.

System Gas in a Regulated Market

In this paper George Roland examines the role, structure, requirements, and implications of system gas in a regulated natural gas market. For the purposes of this paper, George defines system gas as the natural gas commodity or molecules procured by a regulated natural gas local distribution company in order to sell it to a customer. George argues that system gas has an important role to play in the efficient, reliable and safe functioning of the natural gas industry.

The Business Case for a Backbone CO2 Pipeline in Alberta

Gerry Angevine and Dara Hrytzak-Lieffers examine the need for further CO2 pipelines in the oil sands projects. In particular, they focus on the need for CO2 in “enhanced oil recovery” (EOR) techniques in the central part of Alberta.

Toward an Energy Security Strategy for Canada

In this paper, David Thompson, Gordon Laxer and Diana Gibson provide a suggested energy security strategy and guiding principles. The authors consider it a “made in Alberta” initiative in partnership with Canadians from energy producing and energy consuming regions.

Workforce Profile of the Natural Resources Sector

This Workplace Profile provides and overview of workforce demographics and considers what solutions may be found to deal with human resource retention, skills development and recruitment.